M. Duane Nellis has decided to step down as president of Texas Tech University effective Jan. 22.

"I appreciate Dr. Nellis' important contributions and service," said Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert L. Duncan. "He has worked hard to raise the national profile of Texas Tech University, and he and his wife, Ruthie, have been deeply committed to Texas Tech and the Lubbock community."

According to the school, Nellis will "remain on staff as a tenured member of the faculty, and he will continue to work with Duncan on a series of strategic priorities, including expanding international opportunities, innovation, and enhancing the Honors College."

"I want to thank Chancellor Duncan and express my congratulations on the successes the Texas Tech University System has achieved," Nellis said. "I am proud of the role Texas Tech University has played as the flagship institution in reaching those accomplishments and applaud the faculty, staff and students, who collectively elevated Texas Tech University to new levels of national success."

No time frame has been provided for the naming of an interim president, though Duncan will meet with the school's Board of Regents to discuss it and begin the search for a new president.

Nellis sent a letter to Texas Tech staff and faculty which you can read below (via Everything Lubbock):

Dear Texas Tech University Family,

Ruthie and I have truly appreciated the last two and a half years at Texas Tech University and being part of the Red Raider family. We have also appreciated the opportunity to have worked with so many of you to advance this excellent institution to new levels of success. I am proud of our enhancements to the student educational experience at Tech, that have resulted in greater levels of student retention, graduation rates, and overall student success, simultaneously, while working toward a campus-wide environment of innovation and entrepreneurship. During this same time we have strengthened our efforts to recruit more minority students, as we close in on becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution, while our success in support of military veterans on our campus has been recognized nationally.

We have also hired a large number of new faculty and staff and continue to expand our infrastructure in ways that advance the university’s national research agenda. In research, we have added new research professorships, spurred new efforts in inter-disciplinary research, and created other mechanisms to grow our research enterprise. As we have extended such efforts toward new levels of economic development, entrepreneurship, and community partnerships, I am proud that last year we were one of a select number of universities nationally recognized as an “Innovative and Economic Prosperity University.” Such positive momentum has led us to be recognized the last two years by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the “Great Places to Work,” and helped contribute to our recent SACSCOC reaffirmation for our university as a whole. All of these successes, of course, were a team effort, and I thank you for your contributions.

Despite these successes and with mixed emotions, I have recently felt the need to explore new leadership directions in my career. As a result, effective January 22, 2016, I have decided to step down as president of Texas Tech University. The Chancellor and I have discussed my decision, and I will continue in my tenured university faculty position here at Texas Tech University. I also welcome the opportunity to provide a supportive role in special initiatives, focusing in areas such as international development, innovation, leadership training, and in enhancing the Honors College.

I am honored to have served as the 16th president of Texas Tech University. Ruthie and I will always have positive memories of the encouragement and strong support we have had from so many students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of this special university. During our time at Texas Tech, I will continue to work toward Texas Tech’s ongoing success.


M. Duane Nellis, Ph.D.

Nellis was named the 16th president of Texas Tech University on March 22, 2013 and began serving as president in June 2013. Prior to coming to Texas Tech, Nellis served as president of the University of Idaho.

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